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Getting to Root Cause: New, High-Impact Strategies for Reducing Burnout, Improving Resilience and Increasing Retention

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HealthforceX Briefing (August 2022)

New data-driven approaches to reducing burnout, improving resilience and increasing retention are critical to reversing longstanding health workforce (“Healthforce”) challenges.

Why? For one, the staffing crisis plaguing our nation’s hospitals is only expected to worsen, warned the American Hospital Association (AHA) in its March 2022 letter to Congress titled: Challenges Facing America’s Health Care Workforce

Currently 1/3 of hospitals report a nurse vacancy rate of greater than 10 percent. The U.S. needs some 200,000 new registered nurses per year to meet increased demand and replace nurses entering retirement. Meanwhile, the annual turnover rate of certified nursing assistants (CNAs) was more than 27%, nearly double the turnover rate of nurses and physician assistants. This means ongoing staffing shortages and continued stressful working environments for many members of our nation’s Healthforce.  

“Short of hiring more and more recruiters, retention is our key lever,” one hospital HR leader told us. 


Enter psychometric assessment technologies, which are becoming an especially useful tool for successful engagement, development and retention strategies in the current environment. 

According to Deloitte research, psychometric assessments will increasingly go mainstream for hiring, engaging, developing and retaining the workforce, because these tools help HR teams understand the whole person beyond just their demonstrated skills and education. 

For example, psychometric tools can reveal insights into how an individual makes decisions, manages conflict and reacts under pressure. This helps HR teams assess and develop key human capabilities and competencies necessary for our new world of work, such as empathetic leadership, resilience and Emotional, Relational and Team intelligence (ERT-i). 

Psychometric assessments also allow HR teams to identify talent that is likely to fit well with an organization’s culture or thrive in a particular context or department “in a fraction of the time and with greater clarity and accuracy than current ‘gut instinct’ methods,” Deloitte observes. 


By understanding how each individual is uniquely wired and motivated, we can identify root cause drivers and unlock opportunities to increase engagement, reduce burnout and minimize attrition.

The key insights that assessments reveal about an individual can also support internal mobility and career growth. For example, hospitals can identify potential nursing or physician leaders based on their capacity for empathetic leadership and ability to build team trust. 

Placing the right people in the right roles – informed by a reliable and valid psychometric instrument – drives better engagement and retention outcomes at scale. 


How Hospitals Leverage Prism Psychometrics

Prism is an advanced psychometric algorithm used by many of the nation’s leading hospitals and health organizations. 

Developed and enhanced over three decades and rigorously tested for validity and reliability, Prism measures 54 key traits and attributes across six domains (Personality, Processing, Decision Making, Conflict Management, Motivation and Fundamental needs). 

The instrument is easy to use, easily interpreted and available online, on-demand and across any device. 

Lisa DeAngelis, Ph.D., Director for the Center of Collaborative Leadership at UMass Boston, says: “Prism is uniquely multifaceted. We’re not just looking at one dimension of a human being; we’re looking at the whole human being. How do you show up? What motivates you? How do you behave under pressure? How do you communicate? These are important dimensions for everyone to understand, not only about themselves but the impact that those dimensions have on others.”

We asked a senior hospital HR leader about his experience using Prism psychometrics to increase engagement and retention: 

“I’ve been pretty schooled in assessment tools in 30 years of doing this work. Early in my career, I was trained by Isabel Myer’s godson, and I was deep into Myers-Briggs. With Prism, however, it was the first time I was able to see six comprehensive assessments or modules that were informing each other, in one place. The complete Prism “portrait” is a kind of “3D view” of the whole person that I could never easily get with any other assessment. Prism psychometrics and ONA are the two most important tools I’ve used in my career.” 

The HR leader continues: “When I was a practicing clinical psychologist, I would do the inkblot test. That would accelerate my understanding of somebody by about six months because you could penetrate the natural defenses of that individual. By understanding an individual’s psychometric profile, Prism gives you that deeper understanding. So, rather than thinking that a colleague is just being difficult, for example, Prism helps you understand why someone asks so many questions, or why they make decisions more slowly, or why an individual behaves a certain way under pressure. It helps dampen down judgment.” 


Psychometrics and Teams

What about Prism psychometrics for accelerating our understanding of teams?

“What’s really useful to me is that I can compare an entire team’s Prism Portraits, side-by-side, and very quickly identify a set of team preferences and leanings without having to do the heavy lifting around how to analyze all that. And I can see those trends across the entire hospital in terms of team profiles and our leanings against all the profiles that the Prism instrument provides. I’ve never had access to analytics at the individual, team and enterprise levels on one platform, in this way. They’ve never been available. This is incredibly useful in my day-to-day work.”

“This is also important because if I were to simply administer a traditional psychometric assessment, I have no way to roll up the data across a full team or the enterprise. I’ve tried it a few times across larger teams, and it’s just daunting.” 

He concludes: If you’re trying to persuade, influence or understand how to connect with other people across a team or organization, having access to a colleagues or leader’s Prism Portrait and some coaching around it, accelerates the building and effectiveness of that relationship.


How to Experience Prism Psychometrics

The Prism psychometric algorithm is integrated within SurePeople’s HealthforceX solution, an all-in-one platform for assessing, developing and optimizing the modern healthcare workforce, (i.e., the “Healthforce”). For more information, download the HealthforceX Overview.

To see HealthforceX in action and learn how to reduce burnout, improve resilience and increase retention in your organization, please contact John Flowers

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